CA acquits drug convict over technical flaw
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has acquitted another drug convict for failure of the arresting police officers to follow procedures under the law.

In a 17-page decision promulgated on Jan. 30, the 10th Division of the appellate court reversed the November 2017 ruling of the Quezon City regional trial court (RTC), which found Joselito de Jesus guilty of possession of illegal drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

The Quezon City RTC Branch 98 fined De Jesus P300,000 and sentenced him to up to 14 years in prison.

But the CA held that the trial court erred as it failed to consider the violations committed by police officers during the arrest of De Jesus in a sting on Aug. 12, 2017.

The appellate court cited the failure of the police to conduct an inventory of the drugs seized from the accused in the presence of a representative from the Department of Justice and media workers.

The CA noted that the presence of witnesses during anti-narcotics operations is “necessary to protect against the possibility of planting, contamination or loss of the evidence.”

Recently, the Supreme Court acquitted three drug convicts – Emmanuel Oliva, Bernardo Barangot and Mark Angelo Manalastas – over mishandled evidence by police.

They were earlier found guilty of drug charges by a Makati court. 

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